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Budget Cut Will Leave Thousands of Cancer Patients Without Treatment
September 11, 2015
By: Luis Gay
Edited by: Juliana Zhu, Esq.
The Cancer Drug Fund (CDF) in England will no longer receive funds to pay the cost for 16 types of medicine, all of which are used in 23 types of cancer treatments. This decision has been made by the National Health Service (NHS) due to the CDF massively overspending its budget. The Rarer Cancer Foundation said that this detrimental decision will affect about 5,500 patients.
Prime Minister David Cameron originally set up the fund to provide medication to those who cannot afford cancer treatment. He believes everyone should have access to cancer treatments even if the lack they money, however the NHS reported that the fund was going to be £100m over budget in 2014-15 if it continued its spending trend. In fact, all the drugs on the CDF funds list has been rejected by the NHS as they believe the benefits do not match up to the amount of money they cost. Drugs that are no longer going to be funded include treatment for breast, pancreatic, blood, bowel, and prostate cancer. In addition, 43 funded therapies from (out of 84) were cut from the budget at the beginning of 2015.
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Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation, expressed that the budget cuts are a hammer blow to thousands of desperately ill cancer patients and their families. Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the Breast Cancer Now charity, blames the government for its lack of leadership. She explained that the drug Kadcyla is proven to extend life in breast cancer patients and the NHS and pharmaceutical companies failed to set realistic prices for drugs such as these. Many women with breast cancer will die earlier as a result.
Chairman of the CDF, Professor Peter Clark, stated that they are doing what they can to maximize value for every penny they have on behalf of the patients. The fund invests on treatments that offer the most benefit based on clinical evidence and cost. The 16 drugs will officially be removed on November 4th and the announcement will not affect patients currently receiving treatment through the fund.
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Luis Gay is a sophomore attending the University of San Francisco, pursuing a Biology degree and Biochemistry Minor. He is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.